It seems the words “depression” and “stress” flood social media nowadays, they even emerge to wave their ugly heads in conversations with close friends and family sometimes.
Odd that as a child and young adult (I’m thinking 50’s – 60’s here for all you “spring chickens”) I seldom heard these words and when I did not with the same connotation. It could be due to the increasing pressures of today’s increasingly fast paced world (though I do think surviving a world war either in active service or bombed out London would have produced high levels of stress for the adults around me – not to mention rationing and housing shortages!)
Part of it was doubtless they didn’t have the “labels” back then and had to pretty much deal with their own problems. When my dad returned from Burma (one of the only 3 in his battalion to survive) having seen his friends killed before his eyes in guerrilla style jungle warfare he was experiencing what would now be termed post-traumatic stress. My mum just had to love and support him out of it (God bless her she won that battle).
I am hugely thankful that such help exists now for those in need and wholeheartedly support their free access to it. My concern is that too often nowadays it’s easier to “pop a pill” than to find ways to deal with the stresses and set backs of life. That might seem the “easy way” but unless the real problems are tackled things are inclined to get worse. Sometimes it takes a change of job, ending a bad relationship, going on the attack to save a marriage or a change of location etc. It’s hard to make such tough decisions in the midst of emotional turmoil though.
I’ve lived what could be termed a “very adventurous life” with sometimes huge elements of responsibility (not to mention severe earthquakes and hurricanes). I’m not by nature that strong stable type one usually pictures for such a role. Old friends tend to describe me as “strong” but actually I’m more like the lion in the “Wizard of Oz” a scaredy cat who is brave only when it comes down to the line and they have to be, because there’s no one else.
All this to say, over the years I’ve developed some ways of dealing with stress, discouragement (which leads to depression), anger and overwrought emotions which may help others too. They are all rather “old fashioned” but maybe that’s how folks dealt with these things before the days mental health became widely established. Perhaps they may help someone else unwind under stress and avoid having to end up with a severe problem. Rather than make one super long post I’ll dedicate my next few to this topic..